You copyright your videos and watermark your images — or the network you cam on does. When you get a free moment, you spend time looking for your clips online, but not to admire how nice your new pics turned out or “watch tape” to get feedback for future performances by reviewing previously recorded shows. Oh no, you’re looking at other websites in case your content has been pirated: stolen, posted illegally and monetized in some way.
Sure enough, you find your content somewhere it’s not supposed to be. Despite your best efforts, your work is now free to anyone with an internet connection. Some might call this a “loss leader,” providing you exposure by attracting endless new eyeballs. But free exposure also amounts to just as many missed opportunities to monetize your content. What can you do? Send a letter? To who? Hire an attorney? You can’t afford one. One potential solution is enlisting Nate Glass of Takedown Piracy (TDP) to issue a DMCA takedown notification* on your behalf.
Nate Glass is an adult industry veteran of more than 19 years. He launched Takedown Piracy in April 2009 when he saw friends and colleagues getting ripped off by content piracy and no one doing anything to help them.
Featured on Nightline and in countless publications and websites, Takedown Piracy is a leading name in anti-piracy for the adult entertainment industry. TDP also works with several mainstream companies in the fields of literature, film, software publishing, documentaries and sports. The company’s exclusive digital fingerprinting technology is proving to be a game-changer for the industry, as it allows for same-day detection and removal of infringing videos from more than 70 of the biggest streaming video sites in the world.
To date, TDP is responsible for the removal of more than 1.1 million pirated adult tube videos, according to Glass; the company has removed more than 70 million infringements across the web. This includes tube/streaming sites, file-sharing forums, social media, blogs, search engines, auction sites and unlicensed DVD resellers.
Glass spoke with YNOT Cam about piracy in the camming world, how to protect your content and what to do if you become a victim of online content theft.
YNOT Cam: How does piracy work in the context of cam?
Nate Glass: If you’re working as a cam model, the likelihood of your show being screen-capped and recorded is virtually 100 percent. There are people out there with scripts that simply record everything they can from any given cam site. This could even be as benign as non-nude performances where the model is just sitting there. These scripts don’t make any distinction between your nude or hardcore sessions and a tease session. To these guys, every bit of video is a product they can sell at your expense.
This is made even worse when it’s a private show. The market value for those sessions is considerably more, so there is greater incentive for people to vidcap those. They can then be either traded with other cam fans or outright sold and marketed through file-hosting services or cam-centric tube sites. This is devastating to the model, because once someone can see your private session for free, the need for that viewer to pay you is virtually gone. Watching a cam session live versus watching it recorded isn’t a big deal to many freeloaders. To them, it’s simply something to look at while they get off, plain and simple.
Every bit of this chips away at your brand and makes your paid time less and less valuable. These sites can chip away at your Google results, so that when a new fan searches you, he’s not going to find a site that requires he pay for your time. Instead, he’ll find a plethora of piracy sites making money off your name without giving you a penny. Google does not care about your work being exploited. It may not seem fair, but that is the reality.
What can independent models do to protect their content?
For independent models, you likely own your content, so it’s up to you to protect it. My first piece of advice would be to incorporate yourself so that everything you’re doing is running through your business. It’s not only a better option tax-wise, but it will also make it easier for you to maintain privacy in dealing with internet pirates who can be downright stalker-ish for cam models.
Once you’ve incorporated, I would suggest either renting a P.O. box or using a mail-forwarding company so your home address is never disclosed to pirates. All of this is because when you, or a company like mine, are sending takedown notices for your content, there are specific requirements about including the name and address of the copyright holder. It is very much in your best interest that the only information being divulged to a random internet pirate is the name of your corporation and a P.O. box, as opposed to your legal name and where you sleep at night.
From there, you can start issuing takedown notices yourself, or you can work with Takedown Piracy to protect that content. I can walk you through what you need to do to protect your shows. If you’d rather let us do it with our tools and experience, I’m going to ask that you pay me.
Cam pirates are a particularly nasty bunch. Like other pirates, they’ll operate out of piracy havens like Russia, the Ukraine, the Netherlands, etc. Whether or not they’ll take action can largely depend on where they are hosted, who they are using for advertising and how much power the person reporting them has. An individual model may not have much power, but a company like ours does, so we might get a better response than if you go it alone. Furthermore, we have the ability to really clean up your Google results, so that fans searching your name aren’t finding these piracy sites but instead are directed to your social media sites, official sites and places where pulling out the wallet is a must.
What can models who cam with networks do when they see their shows on piracy-based tube sites, or other similar outlets?
If you’re a model working for another site — and this isn’t a popular thing for me to say, but I don’t want to bullshit you — the sites you’re camming for don’t care that your shows are being pirated. They simply don’t. They’ve made their money, and even if it means you, as a model, make less money for them, there’s always a new model they can replace you with. Some cam companies claim they are looking out for you, but in my experience, what they care about is shutting you up when you complain to them. Beyond that, they don’t care. We offered to digitally fingerprint the shows of every model on one site so we could seek out all piracy of their models. The response from the site was that they weren’t interested in that at all. All they wanted to use us for was to forward e-mails from angry models to us so they could tell the model they were handling things. I believe this is called a “reactive” action and not a “proactive” reaction.
Looking through Google’s Transparency Report shows me one of the largest webcam sites in the world has taken down fewer than 1,000 URLs this year. That is an insanely small amount. This is not because they don’t have the budget or capacity to do more. It’s because they don’t care. They are making so much money that you, as a model, are insignificant to them. In fact, there are no cams sites even close to being what I would consider effective in policing piracy. Some of the biggest cam piracy sites are affiliates of the very cam sites they’re ripping off. Cam sites have had a lengthy and friendly relationship with piracy sites since day one, so it’s no surprise they aren’t going to actually go after their piracy buddies. At the end of the day, the individual models get screwed but the cam sites and their tube buddies are making bank.
I don’t envision a day when cam models unionize or have enough power as a group to force cam sites to protect their work, and as long as the cam site owns your shows, there’s very little you can do. If you actually care about this issue, I would look into your agreement with the cam site and find out if you own your content or if they do. If they do, good luck. You can ask them to take down pirated videos, but they are under no obligation to do so, and they might see it as promotion for their site (albeit at your expense) and decide to leave the content up. If you own your content, however, then hit up Takedown Piracy.
Either way, I just want to see models take control of their livelihoods and not be at the mercy of those who would exploit you. But that takes work and effort, and you’ve got to be willing to be in this for the long-term picture. If camming is just something you’re doing for a few months, then maybe you don’t care. However, for those who are dedicated to making the most money they can, and who are committed to building a successful brand, we’d love to help be a part of that.
*Per the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a takedown notice is a notification to a company, usually a web host or a search engine, that they are either hosting or linking to copyright-infringing material. It instructs them to remove the copyrighted works. The copyright holder or an agent granted formal permission to act on the copyright holder’s behalf must issue the DMCA notification in a specific way in order to meet the law’s requirements.
Jenna Andre is a total gearhead who also appreciates the simpler things in life. Email her at Jenna.Andre@ynotcam.com.